HTS 3068 – Social Movements

Topic: Ku Klux Klan Movement (the 1920s)

Areas of Social Movement theory to be considered: Cultural framing and political economy

The focus would be on the Emergence and Decline


  1. Introduction
  2. Description of the Ku Klux Klan Movement in the United States
  • The aspects of cultural framing and the political economy and their influence on the emergence and decline of the Ku Klux Klan
  1. Reasons for the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s
  • The desire to assert white supremacy
  • The desire to maintain a strict racial hierarchy
  • Their hatred towards the African Americans
  1. Reasons for the Klan’s explosive growth from 1920-24
  • The success of the Klan’s organizers in mobilizing WASPs who feared for the devaluation of their economy, social, and political power as a result of the shifts
  • An increasing rate of unemployment blamed on the high number of immigrants flooding into the US
  • Many black Americans moved to northern cities particularly after the First World War leading to competition for jobs and housing
  • Several poor white people joined the movement with the hope that their way of life could be protected
  1. The outcome of the Major Events of the KKK
  • Successful lobbying for immigration quotas passed into law in 1924
  • Beatings, whippings, and a series of murders
  • Terrified and lynched black people
  • The decline of the Movement
  • Conviction of Indiana Grand Dragon D.C Stephenson for rape, murder, and kidnapping of his secretary
  • Membership fall in the early in the 1920s
  • Power struggles among the leaders
  • Conclusion








Wade, Wyn Craig (1987). The Ku Klux Klan in America: The Fiery Cross. New York: Oxford University Press.

Quarles, C. (2009) The Ku Klux Klan & related American racialist & anti-Semitic organizations: A history & analysis. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.

Feldman, Glenn. (1999) Politics, Society, and the Klan in Alabama, 1915-1949. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.

Lyman, M. & Potter, G. (2007).  Organized Crime. Retrieved March 7, 2019, from River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall

References from class on social movement theory

McAdam., Doug, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald. 1996. “Introduction: Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Framing Processes – Toward a Synthetic, Comparative Perspective on Social Movements.” Pp. 1-20 in Comparative Perspectives on Social Movements: Political Opportunities, Mobilizing Structures, and Cultural Framings, edited by Doug McAdam, John D. McCarthy, and Mayer N. Zald. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Piven, Frances Fox, and Richard Cloward. 1979. Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail. New York: Random House, Inc.